The Office of the Information Commissioner adopts the Ombudsman's Client Service Charter (below) as appropriate since the Offices share resources and premises.
Client Service Charter
The Office of the Ombudsman is committed to providing all our clients with a high standard of service in accordance with the Ombudsman's Principles of Good Administration and in accordance with the principles of Quality Customer Service approved by Government. The Office provides an independent complaint examination service to those who are unhappy with how they have been treated by public bodies and who have suffered a result. We have a wide range of clients, including individual complainants and their representatives, elected representatives such as TDs, Senators and Local Authority members, Government Departments and Offices, other public bodies within the Ombudsman's jurisdiction such as Local Authorities and the Health Service Executive, and many voluntary and representative bodies and organisations.
This Charter sets out the standards of service we aim to provide to these clients.
We intend to measure and evaluate our performance against these standards and to report on our performance each year in our Annual Report, which will be available on our website.
Contact by Telephone
If you contact us by telephone we will try to:
- answer your call as promptly as possible;
- give you our name and our area of work when we answer your call;
- be courteous and helpful to you at all times;
- answer your query in full;
- if we cannot do so immediately, we will take your details and call you back as soon as possible;
- respond to all voicemail messages promptly;
- make it as easy as possible for you to contact us by providing Lo-Call access.
If you send us a letter, fax or email we will try to:
- ensure you receive a full reply within 20 working days;
- if we cannot provide a full reply within this period,
- we will write to you explaining why and tell you when you can expect a full reply;
- include a contact name, reference number (where appropriate) and other contact details (telephone, fax, email) when replying;
- write to you in simple and clear language and avoid using technical terms unless absolutely necessary.
Complaints to the Ombudsman
If you complain to the Ombudsman about the actions of a public body, we will try to:
- acknowledge your complaint within 7 days;
- tell you how long complaints of this type usually take to examine;
- keep you advised of progress on your case;
- inform you as promptly as possible and as clearly as possible of the outcome of the examination.
Visitors to the Office
If you visit us in person we will:
- treat you with courtesy, respect your privacy and be fair in our dealings with you;
- meet you at the agreed time if you have an appointment;
- endeavour to provide appropriate facilities for meetings;
- keep our public offices clean and tidy, ensuring that they meet health and safety standards.
Service through Irish
We will make every effort to accommodate people who wish to conduct their business with us through Irish.
- Correspondence received in Irish will be answered in Irish.
- We will publish simultaneously in Irish and English key documents including our Strategy Statements and Annual Reports.
- We will ensure that information leaflets are available in both Irish and English.
- An Irish version of our website will mirror as far as practicable the English version.
- We will meet our other commitments under the Official Languages Act 2003.
Equality / Diversity
- We are committed to providing a service to all clients that upholds their rights to equal treatment established by equality legislation.
- We will aim to ensure that our services and facilities are accessible to all our clients, including those with special needs.
The Office's policy and procedures for the handling of complaints against Ombudsman staff is set out in our Section 16 Manual.
The Office's policy and procedures for the handling of appeals on the outcome of complaints to the Ombudsman is set out in our Section 16 Manual.
Help Us to Help You
You can help us as we try to give you a high quality service:
- please state your complaint as clearly and as concisely as you can;
- please ensure that you send us copies of key supporting documents when submitting your complaint;
- quote any relevant reference number in all communications with us;
- treat our staff courteously, as you would wish to be treated yourself;
- make comments or suggestions about the service you receive.
Consultation and Feedback
- We welcome your comments and suggestions on this charter and on how we can improve our service in the future.
- If you would like to comment or make a suggestion please write to the Head of Corporate Services or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Get More Information
This Charter is available in electronic format on our website www.ombudsman.ie, where details regarding our other services, policies and contact information are also available.
Where to find us:
Our full contact details are available on the Contact Us webpage.
Our address is Office of the Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.
The Office of the Ombudsman has temporary offices each month at Cork, Limerick and Galway. Details of locations and times can be found in the "Meet our staff" section on the homepage of our website. We also organise a programme of regional visits each year and details of these are publicised locally as well as on the website.